Tuesday, November 29, 2005
An article in the New York Times on the new editor at Harpers was interesting for a couple of reasons. One, as Jack Shafer notes, they are owned by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur foundation, and have "a seemingly bottomless philantrhopic fund to finance it." Secondly, they publish monthly and their circulation is 227,538.
We get that every week.
I was interviewed a couple days ago for Congressional Quarterly, and I was trying to explain to the writer why blogs are so fundamentally different from magazines or newspapers. It's also something that my journalist friends have a hard time grasping. Unless you're looking at Powerline or Instapundit (which I don't think of as blogs, they're more like Ken Mehlman's printing press), blogs are interactive -- it used to be you would pick up your paper, be really angry or puzzled or happy with what you read and have nobody to express it to. Now you can open up a comments box and there you are.
And it's a two-way street. If I write something, it's instantly vetted by thousands of people who are going to tell me if I got my facts wrong or if they think I'm off base or if they've got something to add to the dialog that changes its shape and dimensions. The authors of most popular blogs tend to be quite accessible, and the news doesn't seem to be so much dictated to a passive audience as it is organic; it's a free-flowing, two-way street.
Curious to know what you think.